The Castle of Monolithos in Rhodes Greece
No trip to Rhodes is complete without a visit to the Monolithos village and castle. The picturesque village of Monolithos has about 250 inhabitants and is located about 45 miles, 72 km southwest of Rhodes. Its name is derived from the large monolithic rock that serves as the foundation for the castle which has been there since the classical times.
The magnificent castle offers panoramic views of Monolithos. The castle used to be an Ancient Phryctoria which was used to transmit messages from one hill to another. In the late 1400s, the castle was made using pedestals that were bestowed by the Knights of St. John. The main reason for the construction of the castle was to provide residents a clear vantage point that revealed the whole southern part of the island. That way, they could see pirates coming from miles away and the villagers could evacuate in time.
According to the 1479 decree, the people of Apolakkia village had to seek refuge in the castle in case of an attack. Due to its ideal location on top of the rock, it served as a perfect natural fortification against enemies. This is why the castle is considered to be one of the four main strong fortresses on the island. It has also remained largely unaltered over the years, so when you visit the castle, you will feel as if you stepped back in time. While historical records about the castle are quite brief, we do know that it probably fell into the hands of the Turks after the knights left in 1522. Plus, when piracy nearly disappeared during the 17th Century, the castle fell into disuse and was eventually abandoned.
Construction on the castle started in 1476 and ended in 1503 under the supervision of Grand Master Pierre D’ Aubusson. While it was a fortress to be reckoned with back in the day, today, only a few of its walls remain. However, the chaple of St. Panteleimon is quite well-preserved to this day along with the remains of a chapel that was made to honor St. George.
You need to trek for a bit to reach the castle on top of the rock. Just follow the path in the woods and it will lead you to stairs that are carved into the rock. The stairs are slippery though, so make sure you wear hiking shoes during the trek. Once you reach the top, you will forget your stress and fatigue completely. The word ‘breathtaking’ doesn’t even do it justice. The view from the cliffs includes a pine forest that stretched for miles and below, you can spot the Halki and Alimia islands right on the sparkling blue Aegean Sea.